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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

What Next Bombay?

I’m not going to recount the episodes that have occurred in the past. I’m not even going to dwell on the 3 blasts that brought about this post.
I am just going to vent, so if you do not want to hear complaints and anger, get away from this now!

The psyche of people living in BOMBAY (this is how I am going to refer to my city, and anyone who wants to pick a bone with me regarding this, I dare you!) has changed so drastically that now that something even remotely close to tragedy happens, we’re tuned to brush it off unless it has affected us directly. We were called by many people living outside the country, family and friends who are as close as family, all afraid because the BLASTS had taken place in our city. All concerned and rightly so. The atmosphere at home and the clinic was slightly different though. According to them, we were nowhere close.

My wife, bhabi, nephew and son were all at Metro that evening. I was at babulnath. Yet we thought it was fine because we were ‘nowhere close’ to the blasts…It was close enough for people not in the city to call us, but as long as we were a kilometer away, we were far off and not affected. Most people in areas of terror attacks fear for themselves even if they are miles away. It just doesn’t matter to us anymore.

26/11 was frighteningly close to my home. I was at Mondy’s as it happened. Our friends stayed over that night! We were afraid then. Nothing this time. Repeated attacks have either made us really strong or extremely stupid.

The other thing I want to rant about is people blaming the politicians and the intelligence agencies. What do you think they were supposed to do. We live in our city, spit on our roads, litter like there is no tomorrow (or dustbins), get irritated when cops stop us or have a nakabandi because it screws traffic and still proceed to blame them the next time something happens.

I remember the drunk driving crusade that the cops started. I loved it. Used to feel proud when I stopped seeing cops working in the dead of night to prevent people like us who drink and drive from dying. Most of us though, disliked it. Hated them for catching us, if they did. Cried foul when licenses were taken and court appearances demanded. Would you drink and drive internationally….I don’t think so!

You want to live in a safe city, reclaim it from inept politicians. Take your own responsibilities seriously. Stop at the goddamn red light for a change. Even better, get your license legally without a bribe or an agent. There are enough and more rules and laws. All we need is to implement them, and we shouldn’t need the police to tell us or force us to do so. Of late, I have been intentionally driving into people coming down the wrong way in a one way street outside my home. One uncle on a scooter almost fell, yelling at me for doing it purposely and was shocked when I said yes I did. Hopefully, he won’t be riding down the wrong way again. I also picked up some chewing gum a 40 something Aunty spit on the road because the shopkeeper wouldn’t let her use the bin. Small things but it’s a start.

Do something, don’t just rant on facebook and twitter.Also, don’t dismiss candle marches so easily. It may not have got the desired result last time, but it did shake up the government. Libya also started with something as small.

If you think you have the guts to make a change happen, stop the next cop you see riding on his bike without a helmet and ask him where the hell it is. My mom has done it and I have never been more proud of her. Stop the cop riding on JJ flyover when he won’t let other bikers ride there. Yell your lungs out at someone asking for a bribe and watch him wet his pants. They only do what they want because the majority let them.

Lastly, this thing is not about religion. It never was. It’s about making a stand and voicing opinions. They want our attention and they have it. I liked Advani’s point about learning from the US. He, however, did not specify what to learn. Should we learn to give body cavity searches to people in wheelchairs, or learn how to bomb the countries we like least?? Or is it the fact that there has not been another attack there…. You can’t copycat nations. You don’t have an identity if you do that. We wouldn’t be independent and a democracy if we did. We got through the British, we can get through terror. All it takes is a few very angry people from one very angry city to start something. Be it traffic rules, or terror. Do something!!!

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